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Posts from the ‘Resources’ Category

Print, Online, and Video Resources

Marriage Equality Resources from the UCC

http://www.ucc.org/lgbt/issues/marriage-equality/

Information to Help You Compose a Letter to the Editor

http://cdn.washingtonunitedformarriage.org/Letter-to-the-Editor-Toolkit-1.pdf

General Info Regarding R74

Get the Facts Q&A

Why Marriage Matters

Washington United for Marriage

Good Overview Article about opposing sides of R74

http://spokanefavs.com/culture/gender-and-sexuality/washington-gay-marriage-fight-has-money-daunting-odds

Great Video Images to go with Macklemore’s “Same Love”.

According to our sources, this video was filmed at All Pilgrims Church in Seattle, a UCC/Disciples of Christ church!

R74 TV Ads Head to Head

Ads by Washington United for Marriage:

High quality personal accounts of why everyone deserves the freedom to marry, some related to faith, some just poignant:

The current Oppose R74 Ad:

http://youtu.be/QRXhj5DnzS4

Among the “busted” claims in the ad are these:

CLAIM: “Gays and Lesbians already have the same legal rights as married couples.”

FACTS: While domestic partnerships are legal in Washington, states that have passed such laws have found them to be fundamentally unequal and harmful. [See herehere, and here.] As the Supreme Court of Connecticut wrote in 2008 when it struck down a statute that prohibited same-sex marriage, civil unions and marriage “are by no means ‘equal.’” The court explained in its opinion: “Despite the truly laudable effort of the legislature in equalizing the legal rights afforded same sex and opposite sex couples, there is no doubt that civil unions enjoy a lesser status in our society than marriage.”

CLAIM: Marriage “was created for the care and well-being of the next generation.”

FACTS: Many households headed by same-sex couples in the U.S. are raising children. According to the U.S. Census, approximately 20 percent of same-sex couples are raising nearly 250,000 children. Children being raised by loving, committed same-sex couples – like all children – deserve the protections that come from allowing their parents to marry.

CLAIM: “When laws like 74 have occurred elsewhere, people who disagree have faced lawsuits, fines, and punishment.”

FACTS: Seattle Times national investigation “failed to turn up any evidence that same-sex marriage had produced a rash of suits involving businesspeople.” The newspaper “also checked with human rights commissions in four of the six states where marriage is legal; the commissions said there was not an increase in discrimination findings or suits involving same sex marriage.”

Blessed are the un-cool

Like this blog post.  Do we fit the bill?

Blessed are the un-cool.

Apolitical Church?

I’ve been following a discussion online about young Christians leaving their churches, why they are leaving, and why they are or are not finding a home in another church.  A number of young adults have written about this recently and one item on their list of why they get fed up enough to leave their church is that the church became “too political.”

One thing I try to determine about someone who says this is whether or not this person is apolitical.  Does she have an aversion to everything in the realm of politics?  More times than not, the answer is no.  It is incredibly rare to find someone who is apolitical.  Most of us dislike or disagree with one thing or another about our political system.  Some of us hate nearly everything about it, but when it comes down to it, what happens in the political arena affects us personally at one time or another.  And when those laws or decisions touch our lives, we pay attention.  We have opinions so either we endlessly complain about politicians and parties, or we get involved.  This applies to all of us who attend CCUCC as well.  So I wonder, “what is the line between appropriately political, and too political when it comes to church?”

One reason I’ve been interested in this recently is because I’ve just begun working with a group of people from the community who want to make it possible for all people to marry in the state of Washington.  In fact, this group may not have come together if not for two members of our Community LGBT Group.  So the ties to our congregation are there already.  I also know that while the majority of people at CCUCC probably supports marriage equality (we are an OnA Congregation after all), not everyone does.  And we value the freedom of individuals to make up their own minds and decide where they stand.  As a general rule, Kristine and I tend to not talk party politics, but if we get involved in advocacy of some kind we are careful on a couple of counts. First, we never endorse candidates.   Second, if we talk about an issue, it is with the intent of inviting us all to think about that issue in light of our faith.  In other words, does our faith have any guidance for us on the issue.  I think we become too political when we don’t leave room for a variety of opinions, and stop making the effort to be very clear that we welcome questions and respect people, no matter what their view on a particular issue.  The mantel of “too political” gets laid on churches where respect for others is some ways down the list of the core values of the organization.

Churches, like people, are almost never apolitical.  Politics is about how we organize ourselves to manage what is most important to our common life.  My view on how we should manage these crucial elements of life is very much influenced by my commitment to following Jesus.  So, this particular issue of whether everyone should be able to marry, as well as many other issues, should be talked about in light of our faith so that we can decide and act with integrity.  And if we feel that our faith is leading us to have political will, be it for LGBT friends, the natural world, or the poor, etc…, our churches should be places that facilitate that good work, shouldn’t they?

If the answer is yes, then there is good work on many fronts to be done on behalf of others.  Here is one example of how members of a little church in NC that made some waves by telling their stories.

What do you think?

For further reading:   an article by Brian McLaren in Sojourners Magazine and brief set of guidelines for churches who do engage in some political actions by Our Faith, Our Vote.

Gratitude

As we celebrate the Thanksgiving Holiday, we focus our attention on people and circumstances in our lives for which we are grateful.  Sometimes we tend to focus on the negative instead of the positive in our lives.  Sometimes we forget to come back and say thanks to God for the good in our lives.  In her recent sermon, Kristine suggested a simple exercise of writing down 3 problems or issues in our lives, and then writing down 3 things we are grateful for.  It is a good awareness practice for everyday use, but a great one for Thanksgiving week.  If we practice looking for the things we are grateful for, our list will grow and the gratefulness will begin to show, like a light to those around us.

You can find the sermon here, and you can find an interesting article here.

Choosing

My friend, S.M. Ghanzafar, maintains a legendary email list, sending out thoughts and reflections related to Islam and Interfaith Dialogue.  Ghazi and I first got to know one another when he reminded me that CCUCC was the first place that the Islamic community was invited to gather for prayers. “Ghazi” had recently moved to this country, and the small Muslim community had no place to worship together. Under the leadership of the Rev. Ted Edquist, our Fellowship Hall became the first “mosque” in town, and Ghazi has never forgotten that act of kindness.  Ted was recently back in Pullman visiting, and we talked about that time.  In Ted’s words:  “There was no question about it . . . It was just the right thing to do.”

I was working on gathering my thoughts related to the tenth anniversary of 9/11, when I received the following from “Ghazi.”

THE LESSON OF 9/11 (excerpted from an article written by Rinku Sen for ColorLines.com)

“This is the lesson of 9/11 for me. I can’t call myself a person who values inclusion and compassion and then pick and choose those whom I accept. I can disagree, but I can’t disown. Not if I want to help build a nation that accepts rather than rejects; that constructs rather than destroys; that frees rather than enslaves. In such a nation, everyone needs to feel they belong, everyone reacts to the loss of that belonging, and everyone needs to feel its renewal when things change, as they always must. Every story has a sequel, shaped by our interpretation of the past. There is a 9/11 story in which we belong to each other. That’s the one I’ll be telling as we move into the next decade.”

I share with you a part of my response:

My Dear Friend,

Thank you for quote and pointer to the article by Rink Sen.  We surely do each have a story about 9/11, as we do about many events that impact us.  How we shape that narrative, and, more importantly, how the “sequel” shapes us and our actions, makes all the difference.

I was just looking at my bookshelf, at a number of books I received in the mail after 9/11.  None of them were solicited — they were sent to me as a Christian pastor, and, I’m sure, to thousands of others.  Almost every one of these unsolicited books is some form of diatribe against Islam.  Some are more “academic” and some more “religious” in tone.  All of them, professing fact, actually shape a narrative of fear and offer a reason to hate.  At the time, I wondered why groups would go to so much expense to send these things out to people like me?  My first inclination was to throw them away.  But I kept some of them, and I look at those books from time to time as a reminder — really a prod — to shape a different narrative, one that I know to be truer to my own faith and the commitment I share with others, like you, to do my part to create and celebrate a loving and just human family.  As Nelson Mandela writes:  “People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love , for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”  I choose the narrative of love.

Thanks for your commitment to building a true community, and thanks for your friendship,

Kristine Zakarison, Pastor, Community Congregational United Church of Christ

And here is Ghazi’s response back:

“Thanks, Kristine….my eyes are moistened a bit….

Affectionate good wishes/prayers, always . . .”

–Ghazi

One of the women in the Libyan community told me that they have a saying which roughly translates that “Once we have cried together, our hearts become one.”  May we find the space to cry together, as one people on this anniversary.

Peace/Shalom/Salaam,

Kristine

What Do We Do When the Terrorist Looks Like Us?

Click on the link below to read this article originally published in the Moscow Pullman Daily News.

What Do we Do When the Terrorist Looks Like Us